A gunman opened fire at a construction site in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, hours before the World Cup, leaving at least six more people injured.
Early on Thursday morning, according to local media, gunshots were heard at the spot, causing workers to flee.
After a shootout with police, the shooter was also discovered dead.
The Women’s World Cup is being held in New Zealand, with the opening game taking place on Thursday, although there is no evidence that the shooting was related to the competition.
The attacker was carrying a pump-action shotgun as he made his way to the top levels of the building, according to Chris Hipkins, the prime minister of New Zealand: “There was no political or ideological motive for the shooting.”
He noted that, to his knowledge, the two people who were slain were not police but rather civilians and added: “This appears to be the actions of one individual.”
The individual started shooting at the location on lower Queen Street, which is close to the important Britomart transit and shopping centre, at around 7.20 am, according to acting police superintendent Sunny Patel. Streets were blocked off as police descended in force.
Police have contained a serious incident that unfolded at a construction site in Auckland’s CBD this morning.
Multiple injuries have been reported and at this stage we can confirm two people have died. The male offender is also deceased. pic.twitter.com/bC0EWR7Tzr
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) July 19, 2023
According to Spt. Patel, the man fired shots as he made his way through the building.
“Upon reaching the upper levels of the building, the male has contained himself within the elevator shaft and our staff have attempted to engage with him,” Patel said in a statement. “Further shots were fired from the male and he was located deceased a short time later.”
It wasn’t immediately apparent if the shooter had been slain by police or if he had committed suicide.
Although disturbing, the occurrence, according to Spt. Patel, was isolated and didn’t present a threat to national security.
“What has unfolded is understandably alarming and we are reassuring the public that this incident has been contained and is an isolated incident,” Spt Patel added.
Authorities had earlier advised the general public to take cover and stay away from the region, and all ferry services had been cancelled till further notice.
With what seemed to be blood on his uniform, a police officer was seen being helped by his colleagues as they walked to an ambulance.
The incident occurred just hours before the opening match of the Women’s World Cup between hosts New Zealand and Norway was scheduled to begin.
The incident occurred near to the hotels where the World Cup players from Norway were staying, in the city’s thriving business centre on the waterfront.
There is no evidence linking the incident in any way to the competition.
People were abruptly awakened when a helicopter started hovering outside the hotel window, according to Team Norway captain Maren Mjelde.
“We felt safe the whole time,” she said in a statement. “FIFA has a good security system at the hotel, and we have our own security officer in the squad. Everyone seems calm and we are preparing as normal for the game tonight.”